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The University of Southampton

PAIR2032 Democratisation in Global Politics: why do some regimes thrive and others flounder?

Module Overview

Less than a century ago democracy was a relatively rare form of government. Today it is typically seen as the only legitimate type of political regime. Indeed, the language of democracy has assumed such usage that even dictators employ supposedly democratic mechanisms (elections etc.) to bolster their legitimacy. How can we explain this shift? Why do some countries choose to transition to democracy and others do not? Why are some transitions more successful than others? This course will consider this recent trend, situate it historically and in relevant theory, both from comparative political science but also political economy, historical sociology and development studies. In addition to the key academic literatures, the course will draw heavily on real world examples, including in-depth country case studies.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the different theoretical explanations for why democratization does/does not occur in real world cases
  • Demonstrate a historically-orientated understanding of different patterns of democratization in different regions of the worlds
  • Identify and critically evaluate different measures of democracy (Freedom House etc.)
  • Apply independent research skills relevant to both academic literature and policy-orientated documents


1. Introduction 2. What is democracy? 3. Measuring democracy 4. Conceptualising Democratization 5. Modernization theory 6. Modernization theory in practice 7. Voluntarism 8. Voluntarism in practice 9. Historical sociological approaches 10. Historical sociological theory in practice 11. Civil society approaches 12. Civil society approaches in practice 13. Essay writing 14. Democratization and conflict 15. Democratization in divided societies 16. Democratization in America and Europe 17. Democratization in Latin America 18. Democratization in Asia 19. Democratization in Africa 20. Democratization in the Middle East 21. Democratization in Small States 22. Conclusion

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Lectures • Seminar discussion • Analysis of text

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Christian Haerpfer, Patrick Bernhagen, Ronald F Inglehart, and Christian Welzel (eds.) . Democratization. . 

Grugel, Jean, and Matthew Louis Bishop. (2013). Democratization: a critical introduction. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Presentation 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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